The struggle to kill King Coal
In November 2021, at a UN summit in Glasgow, the world’s leaders declared to much fanfare that they were consigning coal to the ash heap of history. Governments promised to stop building coal-fired power plants, and financiers pledged to stop financing coal mines. Eighteen months on, however, the world’s dirtiest fuel is still smoking. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a scramble for fossil fuels, pushing coal consumption to record levels in 2022. Even though the energy shock has faded, global coal demand is still set to rise a little this year. If the increase in the world’s temperature is to be limited to 1.5°C, coal production must fall by more than two-thirds over the course of this decade. Instead it is projected to fall by less than a fifth.